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USA TODAY Sports’ Steve DiMeglio breaks down the top headlines to watch for at the 2017 Masters.
USA TODAY Sports

Andy North was lumbering up the hill after his tee shot on the 15th hole at Augusta National Golf Club during another one of his typical Masters.

It was the late 1980s, and the two-time U.S. Open winner who had never finished better than 12th in the Masters was counting down the minutes to his exit off Magnolia Lane, his visions of winning the green jacket having long since floated away with the current of Rae’s Creek.

But as he came upon his tee shot, his wife, Susan, was enthusiastically voicing and signaling her hopes for his upcoming shot. As he looked past the gallery rope to the right of the 15th fairway, he saw her pointing toward the green, a gesture he instantly knew meant she was demanding he go for the green in two.

North knew he had no choice, no matter the odds. He was 236 yards from the flagstick and, back in the day, would need a mighty blow to get home in two. Complicating matters was a severe uphill lie from the old 15-foot high mounds that used to populate the right side of the fairway, not to mention the pond fronting the green.

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He let it fly nonetheless. With driver off the deck and one of his best swings of the week, the ball took flight and came to rest 5 feet from the hole. A few minutes later he knocked in the putt for eagle.

“And Susan was cheering about as loud as I’ve ever seen her cheer,” said North, who knew his wife was thinking about his score but also what was going to arrive in the mail in a few weeks.

She knew crystal was heading to the Norths’ Wisconsin home. Tiffany crystal to be precise. As the Norths knew back then, and every player knows now, the Masters awards its participants with special gifts for special feats.

Beginning in 1954, the Masters has rewarded players…